Seth Binzer, lead singer of Crazy Town, dies at 49

Shifty Shellshock, the frontman of the rap-rock band Crazy Town, has died at the age of 49. Known offstage as Seth Binzer, he was famous for the 2001 hit "Butterfly," which topped the charts in the US and reached number three in the UK.

Binzer, who started Crazy Town in 1995, also found success with DJ Paul Oakenfold on the club track "Starry Eyed Surprise." Despite his musical achievements, he struggled with addiction, which he addressed on reality TV shows like "Celebrity Rehab" and "Sober House." 

He was found dead at his Los Angeles home on June 24. The cause of death has not been disclosed.

Born in 1974, Binzer was immersed in the music industry from a young age. His father, Rollin Binzer, directed the 1973 concert film "Ladies And Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones" and designed album covers for Chess Records, while his mother, Leslie Brooks, was a model. 

Inspired by the Beastie Boys' album "Licensed to Ill," Binzer pursued a career in rap music. He met Bret “Epic” Mazur at a recording session in the early 1990s, leading to the formation of Crazy Town.

The band's early years were challenging, with their first two singles failing to chart and an incident at Ozzfest in 2000 where Binzer was arrested for throwing a chair out of a window while drunk. 

However, their debut album "The Gift Of The Game" featured "Butterfly," a love song that became an instant hit in 2001. The song's catchy chorus and radio-friendly sound made it a favorite, especially among female listeners.

"Butterfly" was written as a response to the more chauvinistic lyrics Binzer had previously produced. In an interview, he explained that the song was a sweet and nice dedication to his girlfriend at the time, contrasting with his earlier work. 

Despite concerns that "Butterfly" would define them, the song's success was undeniable. However, Crazy Town struggled to replicate this success. Their follow-up single, "Revolving Door," only reached number 23 in the UK, and the band never charted again.

Crazy Town disbanded in 2002 after their second album, "Darkhorse," failed to meet expectations. Binzer then embarked on a solo career, releasing "Happy Love Sick," which found moderate success in Europe. 

He also released "Starry Eyed Surprise," which peaked at number six in the UK. In August 2015, he reunited with Mazur for a final Crazy Town album, "The Brimstone Sluggers," before Mazur's departure led Binzer to rebrand the band as Crazy Town X.

Throughout his life, Binzer was open about his struggles with drugs and alcohol. He spoke about his time in jail for incidents including assault with a firearm and selling drugs. 

In 2012, he faced legal troubles for domestic abuse and cocaine possession and was hospitalized after losing consciousness and falling into a coma. 

In 2022, he was arrested for driving under the influence and was removed from a Nu Metal tour last year after a public fight with bandmate Bobby Reeves. Despite these challenges, Crazy Town continued to perform, with Binzer playing gigs as recently as May 2024.

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